Abu Dhabi prides itself on its religious tolerance. Islam is the country's main religion, but people are free to practice their faiths so long as they do not interfere with Islam.
Last year, the crown prince donated generously to the restoration of Abu Dhabi's main Christian church complex on Airport Road. The compound is home to 21 different churches and incorporates schools, meeting halls, theatres and accommodations for clergy. People flock to worship in multilingual, back-to-back sermons that begin at six in the morning and end at midnight. It can be found between Karamah St and Airport Road, close to the Immigration Department and Al Khubarat School. A list of the Catholic and Orthodox churches in Abu Dhabi can be found here.
The emirate also allocated land to Christian, Hindu and Bahá'í cemeteries and cremation facilities. There are currently no Hindu, Buddhist or Sikh temples.
For those interested in learning about Islam, the Zayed House for Islamic Culture offers introductions to the religion. For Muslims, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf) oversees the religious affairs of Abu Dhabi, including the management and supervision of mosques, and the organisation of pilgrims looking to perform Hajj or Umrah.
During the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, work and life changes both for Muslims and those of other faiths. Working hours are often shortened, and many restaurants and entertainment venues will operate on different timings. Muslims refrain from eating, drinking or smoking during daylight hours, and non-Muslims are expected to respect this fast by abstaining from these acts in public places.
Published: August 25, 2010 04:00 AM